By Devin Sanchez
STANTON - For more than 100 years, the Historic Carmelite Monastery has called Stanton home. Abandoned and run down, the Martin County Convent, Inc. wants to spruce the place up.
"It sits up here all by itself on this hill in Stanton. It looks kind of spooky to begin with. People are just curious," John Kennedy said.
The monastery does give an eerie vibe at first sight. It's massive and dark, and at 130 years old, it holds a lot of history.
"The Carmelites came here in 1882 to establish a German-Catholic Community," Kennedy said.
Two brothers, Boniface and Anastasias Peters, from Barvaria, founded the monastery in 1882. A few years later, a small wooden church was built, dedicated to Most Pure Heart Mary and St. Joseph. This was the first parish between Ft. Worth and El Paso. The building and grounds were sold to the Sisters of Mercy in 1897. There they operated a school and convent, until a catastrophic tornado hit in 1938, leaving the buildings in shambles.
"The only one remaining and standing today is this monastery building behind us which they occupied," he said.
Since then, the building has been abandoned, serving as an urban legend of haunting and a Mecca for mischief.
"It's suffered the ravages of vandals and curiosity seekers. There are no ghost here and it's not a haunted house," Kennedy said.
Now, in a time when Stanton could really benefit from having the monastery open to the public, the Martin County Convent, Inc. is focusing all its time and resources on restoration.
"There's a lot of interest to see this building finally restored and open to the public. Very soon will we be starting reconstruction of the building again," he told NewsWest 9.
Not only would the reopening of the convent as a museum bring both tourism and money to the town, it would make those living in Stanton proud.
"Everyone in Stanton has some kind of ties to this, especially those who have lived here since they came in the 1880's," he said. "We work hard to keep the building secure for future generations."